SAG Negotiators Call for Strike Vote

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Following a rebuff of their entreaty for more talks with producers, negotiators for the Screen Actors Guild have recommended to the union's national board that a strike authorization be sought from members.

On Monday, the negotiators asked the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to come back to the bargaining table, arguing that compromise on just three issues could lead to a new contract agreement. The issues include compensation for new media productions—even very low cost ones—and residuals for made-for-Internet productions that are reused elsewhere on the Internet.

But the AMPTP retorted its long held view that a contract offer last made in June, and mirroring terms accepted by writers, directors and other actors, is its last, best offer.

In response to the negotiating committee's recommendation Wednesday, the AMPTP released a statement expressing chagrin that anyone would contemplate a strike in this economic climate.

"Not only is the business suffering from recent economic conditions, but if ever there was a time when Americans wanted the diversions of movies and television, it is now,” the producers’ union said in a statement. “The DGA, WGA and AFTRA reached agreement on comparable terms months ago, during far better economic times, and it is unrealistic for SAG negotiators now to expect even better terms during this grim financial climate. This is the harsh economic reality, and no strike will change that reality," 

The recommendation will go to a national board much different in composition from the one ruling when contract talks stalled. In August, part of a slate of pro-settlement moderates was elected, so a strike authorization vote appears to be no sure thing.

The board should meet on Oct. 18.

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